There are a lot of terms and classifications in the wedding industry. Categories and labels and all sorts of details that when it comes right down to it, don’t mean as much as the people or experiences behind them.

“So what exactly is a ‘fine art film photographer’?” someone asked me recently. “What does that mean?”

It’s a great question really. It can be a title that gets put on webpages and in site links, becomes a hashtag or conversation verbiage – used so much it’s meaning can seem diluted. I like to think it’s more than that though – it’s a way of capturing – of experiencing – that impacts both the photographer and the client. To me, being a fine art film photographer means that I seek to combine authentic moments and actual romance with a fine art approach. Images are created with beauty in mind, but not just beauty alone. Pretty things need to be more than pretty after all. They need to have substance and heart for them to mean anything to us.

On wedding days, or during portrait sessions I try to put my clients in captivating settings whenever possible, educating them on how soft natural light will make their skin glow and the sparkle in their eyes sing. I help to give direction for positioning and reassurance that yes, how they interact naturally, is truly exquisite on its own (I promise). This helps me to then give them permission to just BE together.

This is beautiful. You look beautiful. Experience it for what it is.

That’s where film comes in. Ever since switching to film after getting to shoot my first frame on Erich McVey’s Contax (thanks, Erich), I’ve been captivated with how the medium has grabbed me by the shoulders and insisted I slow things down. Beyond the aesthetics of it, which are simply divine in their own right, it lets me be more present and in turn allows me to encourage my clients to be more present. That’s what really matters in all of this. To not simply stand in a pretty place, or to look pretty, but rather to truly SEE the beauty around them as they are in it. Even on a rainy wedding day, wrapped up underneath an umbrella (or boldly going without one) – there is beauty in the experience that I want all my clients to value. So this is what the label means. This term, or category, stands for something a little bit more in my book – it allows my clients to trust the artistic vision for photography of their wedding day and portrait images to someone who lives to photograph, so they can sit back and soak it all in.

Topics in this post: Fine art film photographer, fine art film photography, perry vaile photography, north carolina fine art photography. Images above taken in Northern California on the black sand beach of the Lost Coast. Amazing team who created this inspiring vision include A&B Creative, Twigss Floral, Nikol Elaine Hair and Makeup, Mon Voir Calligraphy, Sarah Seven dress, H&M Suit, and last but not least the ever incredible Brittany and Jared Etheridge.

April 14, 2014

Fine Art Film Photographer: What Does it Mean? // California to Carolina – Black Sand Beaches


  1. Michelle Lyerly says:

    That shot of them staring out into the water is phenomenal. So beautiful Perry.

  2. Susan Slater Gelder says:

    These are so beautiful, you really capture the love they have for each other. The misty scenery is perfect. Love it.

  3. Katie Vander Velde says:

    Gorgeous images and a wonderful explanation of fine art!